Read Roses in Autumn Online

Authors: Donna Fletcher Crow

Roses in Autumn

BOOK: Roses in Autumn
10.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Copyright 1998
by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City

ISBN: 083-411-7134
eISBN: 978-0-8341-2907-8

Printed in the
United States of America

Cover Design: Paul Franitza
Cover Photo: Tony Stone

All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version (KJV).

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Crow, Donna Fletcher.

Roses in autumn / Donna Fletcher Crow.

   p. cm. — (Virtuous heart series ; bk. 2)

ISBN 0-8341-1713-4

I. Title. II. Series: Crow, Donna Fletcher. Virtuous heart

   series ; bk. 2.

 

   PS3553.R5872R67 1998

 

   813'.54—dc21

98-8418

 

CIP  

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them;
and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
Isa. 35:1

Donna Fletcher Crow
is a veteran author and speaker. She has written numerous works of fiction, including the historical epics
The Fields of Bannockburn
and
The Banks of the Boyne;
The Daughters of Courage series:
Kathryn, Elizabeth,
and
Stephanie;
and most recently
Where Love Calls
and
All Things New
. Awarded “First Place, Historical Fiction” in 1993 by the National Federation of Press Women for
Glastonbury: The Novel of Christian England,
Mrs. Crow is also the recipient of numerous other literary awards. She is the mother of three grown sons, and a daughter still at home, and resides with her husband, Stanley, in Boise, Idaho.

Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Introduction

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

References and Acknowledgments

Introduction

When I was 17 years old, I was in a serious motorcycle accident. As I lay groggily in the emergency room, a nurse leaned over me and told me the doctors would have to cut open my sweatshirt. My immediate thought was, “I’m sure glad I’m wearing clean underwear like my mother always told me.”

I didn’t give that response much thought until years later when my husband and I started assisting couples one-on-one. I came to a better understanding of the influential impact our parents’ attitudes and actions have on each of us and how they build healthy or unhealthy attitudes and actions in
our mariages.

We have found this especially true in the area of intimacy. If a mother has not had a good sexual relationship with her husband, she may pass that attitude on to her daughter. Her daughter then views sex merely as a duty and not as part of the wonderful gift of marriage given by the Heavenly Father.

We have also discovered many women have been sexually abused when they were children, and their families’ response to the abuse situation dramatically affected their view of intimacy and their relationship with their husband.

Instead of sweeping the issue under the carpet, a tool of healing God uses for struggling spouses is Christian couseling. My husband and I have seen when the individual or couple seek help, God often uses counseling to renew a marriage and build it into what He intended it to be.

Donna Fletcher Crow has written an engaging story, intertwining a couple’s struggles and the use of Christian counseling to help restore their marriage. She demystifies the process and shows that at times in our life and marriage, it is appropriate to seek godly, professional help.

As you read this book, may you be entertained, enlightened, and encouraged with the message that God can heal marriages for those who seek Him.

Yvonne Turnbull

Marriage Conference Speaker and Coauthor of
Team-Mates

Chapter
1

I’ve never been superstitious, but the night my world shattered was Friday the 13th …

That was yesterday. Today Laura James was able to write about it. But then, she was a writer. No, she wasn’t superstitious or suspicious. She had never intended to snoop or pry. She never had the slightest suspicion there was anything to snoop or pry about. She was just lonesome and naive.

Tom worked late so many nights. Not to mention the out-of-town traveling his entrepreneurial job required. And the hours of solitude were perfect for the reading and thinking Laura’s writing career required. But she wanted her husband’s companionship too.

Just this past year his real estate finance business had gone wild. He had overseen developments all over the Northwest and California, and now there was this really big deal in Kansas—the one he had dreamed of for years. People kept asking Tom and his partner, Phil, if they would be moving. But when you were as spread out as that, there was no one place to move to, and as long as planes kept flying into and out of Boise, it was as good a place to live as any.

But Tom and Laura were apart so much. Sometimes she missed the good old days when there wasn’t enough work or enough money but plenty of time.

Well, it was only eleven o’clock. She would fill a basket with goodies and surprise him with a midnight picnic at the office.

Laura washed a cluster of pale green grapes, at their September sweetest, then put a wedge of creamy Port du Salut cheese in the basket—just for Tom—next to her slice of fat-free cheddar. Smiling, she thought how surprised Tom would be and how they would laugh, sitting together on the office floor. She took a package of éclairs out of the freezer to add to her trove. Maybe she would even eat one tonight. When the teakettle whistled, she filled the Thermos with Almond Pleasure tea, and her work was done. All that remained was to brush her short, curly, nut-brown hair and slip on a crisp shirt over her tailored skirt.

The night air was still warm and languid. As she walked from her little car to the black marble-fronted office building, she felt the heat of the day emanating from the cement sidewalk while hints of the coming autumn crispness lurked in the air. But in the building’s small foyer, the air conditioning returned the atmosphere to its seasonless comfort. Laura inserted her key in the elevator and pushed the button for the third floor.

When she stepped off the elevator, all was dark and quiet in the reception room of Marsden and James, Inc., but she could see a slim strip of light under Tom’s door. The tweed carpet muffled every sound as she crossed to his office and flung the door open wide.

“Surprise, Darling!”

She stood encased in timeless, disbelieving horror. What were these people doing in Tom’s office? Even when he had disentangled himself from the woman’s embrace, Laura still couldn’t accept that it was Tom. It was as if some strange man was holding a woman in Tom’s office.

Part of her muddled brain wanted to say, “Excuse me, but where’s Tom?” while another part of it wanted to scream and claw and throw things. But she didn’t do anything.

She didn’t know how long she would have stood there, mute and immobile while her brain lurched and shrieked, if Tom hadn’t moved. He took two steps toward her. “Laura, I believe you know Marla Kauffman, the real estate agent I’ve been working with.”

“Hello …” She actually started to acknowledge the introduction as if at a formal reception. Then the frozen horror melted and flooded her. She turned and ran from the building, taking the stairs because waiting for an elevator was unthinkable.

At home, her favorite wingback chair received her like a mother’s arms, and she sat there in blindness, silent tears flowing down her cheeks. A long time later she heard Tom’s car on the driveway, then his key in the lock. She made no motion to respond.

“Laura, I’m so sorry.”

A small corner somewhere in Laura’s brain registered that Tom looked as if he’d aged 10 years.

“I wouldn’t hurt you for the world. I don’t even know how it happened.” He sank heavily onto the bench at the foot of the bed—their bed—where they had slept together for seven years.

“Not hurt me?” She sprang at him. A blaze of anger burned her tears away.
“Not hurt me!
You thought you could carry on with another woman and ‘not hurt me’?” Was he that stupid, or did he think she was? “You never thought of whether or not you’d hurt me. You just thought I wouldn’t find out! If you thought at all!”

His shoulders slumped. “Laura, I …”

“Oh, don’t try to explain. For God’s sake, don’t make excuses.”

The shock on his face was indescribable.

“Oh, don’t worry. I wasn’t swearing. I was praying. You may have thrown everything you believe into the wind for the sake of a fling, but I haven’t.”

… It was as I said it that I understood. I was able to put the awful, gaping wound inside me into words. I hadn’t made Tom my god—but I realized then that my faith in him had been as complete. As unshakable. I sank back into my chair, all anger gone. In slow, hollow tones I said, “It’s as if God were dead.”

Laura closed her journal. Reliving last night’s scenes had been almost as painful as the initial experience. But now her mind was clear. It was a catharsis. Getting it on paper got it out of her head. Now she could think about something else.

She sat there for some time, biting one fingernail, seeing Tom’s face as she spoke those words. If she had been trying to hurt him—seeking revenge—she could have done nothing more effective. He sat for several minutes, his head bent forward as if he had received a physical blow. Then he got up slowly and went to the guestroom.

It was nearly noon the next day—today, that was—but Laura’s grasp on time was tenuous and slippery. They met in the kitchen. The teakettle was singing, the sun shining on a glossy Swedish ivy hanging by the window, and the red and white silk-screened wallpaper looking as vibrant as ever. But to Laura the world was a dull gray. As she poured the bubbling water over the English Breakfast tea leaves, she noted that in spite of his taking care to shave and brush his smooth blond hair into place, Tom looked as war-ravaged as she felt.

Mechanically she put two slices of honey wheat bread in the toaster and waited for them to pop up. It wasn’t until they were sitting in their usual places at the glasstopped white wrought iron table that Tom broke the silence. “Laura,” his voice was husky, almost pleading. “What do you want to do now?”

She shook her head, deliberately poured skim milk into her tea, and took a long sip before she answered. “What I want is for it never to have happened. But since it did, I suppose you’d better tell me about it.” She held her teacup with both hands and stared at it. She knew Tom wasn’t looking at her either.

BOOK: Roses in Autumn
10.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Last Boat Home by Dea Brovig
Angels in the ER by Lesslie, Robert D.
Save the Flowers by Caline Tan
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Seeing Off the Johns by Rene S Perez II
Suspicions by Christine Kersey
Indomitable Spirit by Bernadette Marie